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My Mood in October: Swingy Stripes

October 13, 2012

I had the pleasure of writing for both the Mood Sewing Network (guest post here) and BurdaStyle (guest post here) this month. I made BurdaStyle’s Swing Dress in a lovely striped wool jersey from Mood. If you haven’t already read my story over there, check it out below.

I’ve been in the mood for stripes lately – swingy stripes.  For my big project this month, I wanted to find the perfect pattern to pair with a lovely striped wool jersey from Mood (sadly, out of stock, but here’s a similar, albeit narrower, stripe in the fetching combination of navy and pea green) that I bought with my Mood Sewing Network allowance.  I was imagining a full, gathered skirt to take advantage of the beautiful drape in the fabric.  When I was contacted by BurdaStyle about doing another guest post, I jumped at the chance to make their Swing Dress 08/2012 #133 pattern.  It not only had a full skirt but also had a bodice that I thought would play well with stripes. When everything came together, I was thrilled with the contrasting stripe directions in the bodice; the pairing of the horizontal main bodice piece and the vertical side pieces add dimension as well as fit and flatter.  Unfortunately, my inexperience with sewing shows through a bit here.  I originally chose this wool jersey because I’d heard such good things about the this type of fabric but had yet to sew with it.  When picking the pattern, it hadn’t occurred to me that this wool jersey was a knit, not a woven.  Silly, I know.  I realized pretty quickly that the bodice was going to stretch out like crazy if I attached the weight of the skirt.  So, I kept the bodice and skirt as separate pieces.  To finish the bodice I added a band along the bottom, two stripes wide.  And, since the invisible side zip I had planned for this dress was no longer going to work without the skirt attached, I added a button placket and four buttons along the side to close it up instead.  So that the black buttons would be a little more discreet, I spaced them so that they fell in line with the black stripes along the back.  I hadn’t realized until it was too late that this placement meant the top would end up buttoning with the edge of the button placket towards the front.  Even so, I’m quite pleased with this top. I finished up the skirt by adding a band of thick black elastic to the top.  As a separate piece, it’s extremely versatile.  I can wear (and have already worn!) it with quite a few things in my closet, dressed up for work or down for a weekend adventure. What I’m most proud of though is my efforts to match stripes.  The print-at-home-with-no-seam-allowances BurdaStyle pattern was key to my stripe matching efforts.  To start, I actually printed the pattern out twice and taped it together so I had each pattern piece in full.  I then drew lines perpendicular to the grain line to help me align the stripes along all of the edges.  Because there were no seam allowances, I knew everything covered up by each pattern piece was going to be a part of the completed garment, which further helped me place the stripes.  I then traced around each piece with chalk and loosely cut around it.  When I was sewing each piece together, I made sure to pin along the chalk line but then sew just inside the line since that’s actually where the edge of the pattern piece actually was.  For the side bodice pieces I actually drew each of the stripes on the pattern pieces and labeled which ones were going to be the black stripes.  This extra step ensured both pieces were mirror images of each other. The extra effort to perfectly match the stripes meant that even the darts on the back bodice are nearly invisible.

Can you spot the darts?

The above photo is proof of just how swingy these stripes are.  The collage below is further proof.  I had so much fun twirling in the leaves for these shots. These photos were actually taken this past weekend when my husband and I were on a whirlwind trip to New Hampshire for a wedding.  We had an extra hour on our way back to the airport on Sunday, so we took a tour through the USS Albacore, a research submarine now docked on dry land, after taking photos in a pretty patch of fall colors.  You can see how I was actually wearing this dress during the day:  all bundled up with a bright cardigan and a plaid scarf.  It was chilly!  But, I think the gray and black stripes actually work well paired with bright colors and mixed patterns. Thanks Mood and BurdaStyle for another great project!

26 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2012 8:44 am

    Lovely dress Amy. I love stripes! Great job on the matching as well.

  2. October 13, 2012 8:45 am

    excellent stripe matching and what a great outfit, pieces that can be worn with other things.

  3. October 13, 2012 9:25 am

    I saw this on Burda – it’s fantastic! All that extra care cutting out really pays off, and I love that it looks like a dress, but isn’t. Great job!

  4. October 13, 2012 11:27 am

    Great save converting it into a two piece dress! It’s almost better now that it can be three different outfits. I’m on kind of a permanent stripe kick – I gravitate toward striped fabric, but it can be hard to find striped jersey that’s not tissue thin. This looks perfect!

  5. October 13, 2012 12:37 pm

    This is so pretty! Love the stripes (and the vertical contrast), and I totally thought it was a one-piece dress until you said something. =) But that’s even better that it can be worn different ways!

  6. October 13, 2012 1:20 pm

    I just love how you overcame the stretch issue with this fabric. I especially love the bodice and buttons. Great sewing!!

  7. Shams permalink
    October 13, 2012 5:09 pm

    It’s amazing how fast you are learning. Creating the dress as 2 pieces was inspired. I wondered about the vibrant colors in those first photos, and now I get it! So glad you are having fun and making great clothes. :D

  8. October 13, 2012 9:38 pm

    I love it! Particularly the bodice.

  9. October 13, 2012 11:05 pm

    This is a really pretty length on you–nice proportions. I love it when stripes go well!

  10. prttynpnk permalink
    October 14, 2012 3:01 am

    I love how you elevated a sple shape with your pattern placement- lovely!

  11. October 14, 2012 7:05 am

    I love it! I actually think it’s somehow more brilliant as two separate pieces – more possibilities!

  12. October 14, 2012 8:48 am

    Great use of stripes. Beautiful dress.

  13. October 15, 2012 9:47 am

    Cute! I am a fan of it being a two piece set disguised as a dress! Also, how clever with that button placket! Somehow I never thought that was even an option for an underarm closure.

    • October 16, 2012 5:55 pm

      Desperation to find a workable solution led me to the button placket. It doesn’t reach all the may up to the underarm since I’d already stitched that closed in preparation for the zipper.

  14. October 15, 2012 10:35 am

    what a great dress! I love how you paired it with the red cardigan while you were in my neck of the woods – the Northeast!

    • October 16, 2012 5:54 pm

      Funny, I thought you were from the south… I’ll have to start paying more attention!!

  15. misscrayolacreepy permalink
    October 15, 2012 11:46 am

    That looks sooooo comfy! And you did awesome matching up the stripes!

    P.S. I was in your neck of the woods yesterday! We did a quick day trip to San Francisco for the 49er game. If we had more time I would have let you know so we could grab some food! :)

    • October 16, 2012 5:53 pm

      How exciting you were here! It would have been lovely to catch up. Maybe next time?!

  16. October 16, 2012 12:33 am

    I love this outfit–the colors are wonderful, the fit looks perfect and the details like the stripe direction and the buttons are really lovely! It looks so comfy but also very sharp. What a great outfit!

    • October 16, 2012 5:52 pm

      Thanks! The striped are my favorite part. Glad I finally figured out stripe matching!


  1. Stripes Take Two | Mood Sewing Network
  2. Stripes Take Two with Drape Drape 2: Review and Giveaway « Sew Well
  3. Drape Drape 2: Winner and Another No. 2 « Sew Well
  4. 2012 Recap with Awards and Sightings and All that Jazz « Sew Well
  5. Gridlock | Sew Well
  6. Burda Burda Burda! | Sew Well

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